Help on front bay window rotting out

I ahve a 2 story white colonial home. I have a bay window in the front of my house. It is a classic colonial type bay with 45 degree angles at the front using a big picture window in the front and smaller windows on the sides. It is painted white with a black metal cap on top of it. Originally the whole box was site built and the unit was sided with plywood. Then the bay was outlined using 5/4 x 10 wood to give the bay depth. That 5/4 wood is giving me problems in that I can't keep paint on it and the wood then rots out. I live in the Northeast and this bay has southern exposure. It can't tolerate the wild swings in temperature. This is a common occurence in my are of the country with this type of bay My question is, is there something else I could use to outline the bay. Possibly made of fiberglass or vinyl. I would like to keep the look similar, but avoid the maintenance. One local contractor suggested covering up the rotting wood with metal. I have considered that but I am looking to completely remove the 5/4 outline wood and replace it. Thanks Bernie
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If the problem is limited to the trim and the basic structure remains sound, I would make the following set of guesses: The trim is not painted on all faces before installation. (This includes the cut ends.) The trim is not sealed to the body of the bay or the sealant is not maintained. The trim is not shaped to shed water.
I would * not * wrap the trim.
There are a number of synthetic materials that one might use. The first that comes to mind is fiber-cement.
Tom Baker
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I can tell you the base of the bay is fine. The trim I am sure is not painted on all sides other than the cut and splice sections I have done myself. The trim is not sealed to the base very well. The trim is definetly not shaped to shed water. That is the nature of most bays like mine. They do not shed water well. This a big reason why I want to use some kind of synthetic trim. To keep the bay to look the same, it will always have a problem with water. Placing a small gutter around the top may help, but the expansion and contraction due to southern exposure is an issue. In a perfect world where the trim and base are kept totally sealed at all times, I might be able to keep everything intact. But that seems near impossible as I have tried and the problem persists. Bernie
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